SE Asia Stocks-Fall on oil shares; Thai cabinet reshuffle supports
BANGKOK, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks fell on Thursday as worsening global oil prices hit energy-related shares, with the Singapore and Malaysian benchmarks hitting multi-month lows, while Vietnam dropped after its central bank devalued the dong on Wednesday. Singapore's key Straits Times Index shed 1.1 percent to 3,006.72, the lowest since February 2014, with shares of Sembcorp Marine Ltd dropping 5.6 percent, the biggest percentage loser. The Kuala Lumpur composite index was down 0.3 percent, slipping at one point to the lowest since June 2012. The index's top losers included Sime Darby Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd. The Thai SET index retreated from highs hit on Wednesday as top oil firm PTT plunged 4.8 percent amid global oil weakness, with U.S. contracts hovering slightly above $40 per barrel, levels not seen since the credit crunch of 2009. The SET plunged to a near 1-1/2-year low early in the week as foreign investors sold shares after a deadly bomb blast in central Bangkok. Thailand's king formally endorsed a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday that includes a new finance minister and a new deputy premier overseeing the economy as the military government seeks to spur flagging growth. "Domestic plays, especially construction and material sectors, should continue to outperform due to optimism on more government economic packages after the cabinet reshuffle," said broker KGI Securities in a report. In Asia, concerns about slowing growth in China overshadowed positive news from the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting which hinted that the timing of a rate hike has not been reached. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was on track for a second straight loss after the central bank devalued the dong for the third time this year. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0721 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3006.72 3041.25 -1.14 Kuala Lumpur 1577.04 1582.44 -0.34 Bangkok 1371.12 1379.12 -0.58 Jakarta 4447.27 4484.24 -0.82 Manila 7278.98 7344.73 -0.90 Ho Chi Minh 567.95 577.82 -1.71 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by xxxx)
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